IL 529 Plans Rated Best in the Nation


A post from Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs: I am very proud to announce that our 529 college savings plans have been rated best in the nation by independent analyst Morningstar. Bright Start received gold medal honors for the second consecutive year. Bright Start plans are purchased directly by individuals. Illinois’ Bright Start was one […]

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College Funding Ideas – The time to start planning is now!


It’s never too early to plan but if you have a high school senior or college aged child you are now eligible to submit a FAFSA form as of October 1, 2018. Forms will be accepted until June 30, 2019. What is FASFA?  FAFSA is the Free Application For Federal Student Aid and you need […]

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Check Your Withholding


Do a paycheck checkup. It is especially important this year because of all the tax-law changes that have occurred and likely will continue to occur for 2018. Your goal should be neither to owe a large amount nor to receive a large refund. IRS released a withholding calculator in February incorporating the tax-law changes that […]

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Mortgage Insurance


Because of the uncertainty over the 2017 tax deduction for mortgage insurance premiums, taxpayers may have received a Form 1098 (mortgage interest) without the number included. Now that Congress has decided to reinstate the mortgage insurance deduction, many mortgage lenders will be issuing corrected 1098 statements with the amount allocated to mortgage insurance premiums for […]

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Equifax Data Breach


Equifax, one of the largest credit reporting agencies in the nation, announced yesterday that it suffered a major cyber breach. The breach is currently estimated to affect approximately 143 million personal records. To identify if you are part of the breach, Equifax has provided a website. Further, they are offering free credit monitoring. The website […]

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Some thoughts as the Dow reaches 20,000


A 20,000 Dow – What does it mean? As with any milestone number, the Dow approaching 20,000 has many people excited but not sure what to do.  Should we buy in now because the stock market will go higher?  Or should we take gains to free up cash in case the market declines?  The simplest […]

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First Victory for the Fiduciary Rule


An early victory was scored for consumers last week when a federal court refused to place on hold the U.S. Labor Department’s “Fiduciary Rule.”  The rule, which will take effect next April, requires anyone giving advice on retirement accounts always to act in the best interests of their clients.  The ruling involved a case filed […]

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Changes to Social Security and the Impact on you


After receiving no cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2016, the Social Security Administration announced on Tuesday, October 18th that benefit recipients shall receive a 0.3% COLA for the 2017 year.  This means an individual who received $15,000 in Social Security benefits for 2016, will now receive $15,045 for 2017.  These adjustments are made to keep pace […]

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Last Minute Tax Tips


As we move into the final days of 2014, it’s not too late to take actions that can reduce your tax bill. As usual, all else being equal, it’s a good idea to defer income and accelerate deductions. Waiting until 2015 to realize capital gains can make sense, as can bunching deductions like charitable donations […]

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2015 Market Outlook from SSGA


Investors would be hard-pressed to find many broad asset classes that had done anything but go up this year until volatility reared its head in October. While there have been periods of dispersion in returns, most portfolios are sitting on decent gains since markets bottomed in March 2009. This year, risky assets have performed resiliently […]

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